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Call for applications - Aurora Leadership Development Programme for Women

09 Jul 2019

We are looking for nominations for the national Aurora Leadership Development Programme (Advance HE) for staff who identify as women


Since its launch in 2013, we have supported 76 talented women from across the University through the programme. 

This year we are inviting applications for our maximum institutional allocation of 15 places. We welcome applications from women from all staff groups (academic and PS) and from all functions and Faculties. The Aurora programme is designed to support women into leadership roles rather than for those who are already in a leadership role. Therefore we welcome applications up to senior lecturer level or professional services equivalent who wish to develop their leadership skills and potential. 

Aurora is a key initiative to address the under-representation of women leaders in Higher Education. The Aurora programme aims to enable a wider range of women to think of themselves as future leaders, providing a positive experience of leadership and encouraging participants to recognise their talent and capabilities, develop the skills they will need and to ‘step-up’ to future leadership posts.

The Aurora programme focuses on core areas associated with leadership success: 

  • Understanding organisations and the sector; 
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge; 
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles; 
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity; 
  • Building networks, coalitions and support processes. 

Aurora participants will attend four development days (at approximately monthly intervals); peer support through action learning sets (ALSs) organised and delivered locally, and will be paired with a senior Manchester mentor, many of whom are Aurora Alumni themselves. 

Aurora Champion and Alumna Dr Rachel Cowen (University Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) will support the application process by fielding expressions of interest. Rachel says: "Aurora was a powerful and career enhancing experience for me affirming by beliefs in my leadership potential and giving me the confidence as a part time academic to apply for a senior leadership role. It’s a privilege to champion the programme so that it can enable a diverse range of women to step up to leadership"

Feedback from our past Aurora Alumni also endorses the quality of the programme and its impact on participants:

“It was amazingly helpful that it takes a gendered approach to leadership. In this respect it attuned me to a good understanding of how I can get my voice heard effectively.  I loved the fact that I was part of a huge cohort of women working on the same programme and that together we are changing leadership in HE to be inclusive of women.”

“Thank you for the support to attend Aurora – it was life changing.”

“It was extremely helpful in articulating issues of power and leadership within a HE context. I really feel that it gave me a tool kit to support me in any of the areas of managing and leading that I’m likely to encounter and I use my toolkit regularly already.”

Faculty and central funding has been secured for all 15 Aurora places (travel to be arranged by participants, and costs will have to be met by their School or Department). A panel will be convened to review applications comprising of academic and Professional Services Equality, Diversity and Inclusion leads. 

For further information and an application form, please contact Sarah Mohammad-Qureshi, Athena SWAN Co-ordinator.

Informal expressions of interest can also be made to Rachel Cowen, Aurora Champion. Further information about the programme is available through the Advance HE website.

Deadline for applications: 2 September 2019